Frigates, Oh, Frigates

SHAH ALAM:It is now confirmed, RMN is getting two more frigates to supplement the KD Jebat and KD Lekiu. The new frigates is will be a derivative of Jebat and Lekiu, but with a different sort of missiles and combat systems.

Probably a new gun too, most likely the Oto Melara 76mm unlike the Bofors 57mm gun on the Jebat and Lekiu. Could it be that the new frigates be equipped with the Aster missiles for air defence?

There is enough space, based on the specs of the Jebat and Lekiu. A Sylver launcher, the A-43 which could accommodate eight missiles, only need six square metres of deck space. The A-43, however only accommodate the Aster 15 SAM, similar to those fitted to the Singapore Navy frigates, with a range of 15km (in combat this will be a protection of around 10km) unlike the A-50 launcher which can accommodate the Aster 30, with a range of 100km.

With the Aster 30, Malaysia’s air defence will be increase ten-fold and finally the RMN will be a strategic force for the country, not just another brown water navy. If we can get at least five frigates (or destroyers as only ships in this class are being fitted with the Aster 30) : two stationed on the South China Sea in the peninsula side and the other two in seas of Sabah and Sarawak coupled with at least six battalions equipped with similar missiles on land, we will have quite formidable air defence.

The fifth ship should be in the Malacca Straits as the lead of the Home Fleet. The current Israeli walk-over in Lebanon and Gaza strongly suggests that we should adopt the systems I mentioned above but I would not bet my money on it.

–Malaysian Defence

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